State v. Richardson, No. 92-2400

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtDIAMANTIS; HARRIS, J., and STROKER, R.J.
Citation621 So.2d 752
Docket NumberNo. 92-2400
Decision Date02 July 1993
Parties18 Fla. L. Weekly D1539 STATE of Florida, Appellant, v. Larry RICHARDSON, Appellee.

Page 752

621 So.2d 752
18 Fla. L. Weekly D1539
STATE of Florida, Appellant,
v.
Larry RICHARDSON, Appellee.
No. 92-2400.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Fifth District.
July 2, 1993.
Rehearing Denied July 28, 1993.

Page 753

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Kellie A. Nielan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellant.

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and James R. Wulchak, Chief, Appellate Div., Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for appellee.

DIAMANTIS, Judge.

The State of Florida appeals the trial court's non-final order denying the state's motion to introduce evidence of collateral crimes committed by appellee Larry D. Richardson and evidence of admissions made by Richardson. We affirm the trial court's order in part, reverse in part, quash in part, and remand for further proceedings.

On January 7, 1992, a grand jury indicted Richardson for first degree murder, 1 armed robbery with a firearm, 2 and burglary. 3 The indictment alleged that, on or about February 14, 1991, Richardson unlawfully entered the home of Carolyn Lee, robbed her of cash and personal property, and killed her by striking her with a skillet or hammer and shooting her with a handgun.

On May 21, 1992, the state filed a "motion for pretrial ruling regarding admissibility

Page 754

of Williams 4 rule testimony," in which it sought to introduce evidence of other crimes committed by Richardson, as well as admissions made by him. The trial court denied the state's motion, ruling that such evidence would not be allowed during the state's case-in-chief but reserving ruling on the admissibility of such evidence in the event Richardson raised some matter which would make the evidence relevant and material in rebuttal.

On appeal, the state contends that the trial court erred in excluding the following evidence:

(1) On February 11, 1991, Richardson had a firearm in his possession. 5

(2) On February 12, 1991, Richardson murdered Kevin Floyd with a small-caliber, dark-colored handgun. 6

(3) On February 13, 1991, Richardson called his father in Massachusetts and told him that he needed money to leave town because he had "just killed a man".

(4) Richardson's aunt, Rosa Lane, discovered that a small-caliber, dark-colored handgun was missing from her home. She last saw the gun on January 1, 1991. Richardson had access to his aunt's home.

(5) An analysis of the bullets which killed Floyd and Lee revealed that both came from a .22 caliber firearm (probably a revolver), were consistent in class characteristics, and could have come from the same firearm.

(6) When the police contacted Richardson on February 14, 1991, following the murder of Lee, Richardson stated that he was sorry he had come down to the police station; that he had been in the process of packing his bags to leave; and that, had he continued his packing and left, the police would never have found him. 7

The state contends that the evidence that Richardson had access to a small handgun, that he killed Floyd with a small handgun, and that he needed money to leave town after killing Floyd was relevant to show Richardson's motive in robbing and killing Lee. Additionally, the state contends that the evidence was relevant to establish the entire context out of which the criminal episode occurred, identity, opportunity, and common scheme.

We first must address the appealability of the trial court's order. Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.140(c)(1)(B) permits the state to appeal orders

suppressing before trial confessions, admissions, or evidence obtained by search and seizure.

Pursuant to rule 9.140(c)(1)(B), we conclude that the state may appeal the trial court's order to the extent that the order suppresses the admissions of Richardson made to his father (item 3) and to the police (item 6). See State v. Brea, 530 So.2d 924 (Fla.1988); State v. Palmore, 495 So.2d 1170 (Fla.1986). See also State v. Hale, 505 So.2d 1109 (Fla. 5th DCA1987); State v. Langer, 490 So.2d 1019 (Fla. 5th DCA1986); State v. Evans, 462 So.2d 596 (Fla. 5th DCA1985). We also conclude that, because the murder of Floyd (item 2) is intertwined with the admission of Richardson to his father that he needed money to leave town because he had killed a man (item 3), the state may appeal the suppression of item 2 under rule 9.140(c)(1)(B). The murder of Floyd clarifies and explains Richardson's admission to his father the next day.

Alternatively, even assuming that the trial court's order suppressing evidence of the Floyd murder is not appealable as a

Page 755

matter of right, we recognize that the state may seek common law certiorari review of the trial court's order regarding this evidence as well as the evidence contained in items 1, 4, and 5. State v. Pettis, 520 So.2d 250, 253 (Fla.1988). See also State v. Brea, 530 So.2d 924, 926 (Fla.1988); State v. Smith, 586 So.2d 1237, 1238 n. 3 (Fla. 2d DCA1991). Accordingly, consistent with the principles pronounced in Pettis, we grant common law certiorari in this case in order to afford the state a full review of the trial court's order regarding items 1, 4, and 5.

In Ruffin v. State, 397 So.2d 277 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 882, 102 S.Ct. 368, 70 L.Ed.2d 194 (1981), the supreme court described the test for admissibility of evidence of collateral crimes:

In Williams v. State, we announced a broad rule of admissibility based upon relevancy.... [W]e declared that any fact relevant to prove a fact in issue is admissible into evidence even though it points to a separate crime unless its admissibility is precluded by a specific rule of exclusion. We further held that evidence of collateral offenses is inadmissible if its sole relevancy is to establish bad character or propensity of the accused. We emphasized that the question of relevancy of this type of evidence should be cautiously scrutinized before it is determined to be admissible, but that nonetheless relevancy is the test. Evidence of other crimes is relevant if it casts light on the character of the crime for which the accused is being prosecuted. For example, this evidence is relevant when it shows either motive, intent, absence of mistake, common scheme or plan, identity, or a system or general pattern of criminality.

Ruffin, 397 So.2d at 279-280. 8

Where the state demonstrates that evidence of separate criminal activity is relevant to the charged offense, the trial court still may exclude such evidence on the grounds that its prejudicial impact outweighs its probative value. Henry v. State, 574 So.2d 73, 75 (Fla.1991); State v. Vazquez, 419 So.2d 1088, 1090 (Fla.1982); Straight v. State, 397 So.2d 903, 909 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1022, 102 S.Ct. 556, 70 L.Ed.2d 418 (1981). See Sec. 90.403, Fla.Stat. (1991). Because evidence of collateral crimes is inherently prejudicial, however, such evidence should not be excluded merely because of its prejudicial nature. Before the trial court excludes such evidence, the probative value of the evidence must be "substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice." Bryan v. State, 533 So.2d 744, 747 (Fla.1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1028, 109 S.Ct. 1765, 104 L.Ed.2d 200 (1989) (citing Sec. 90.403, Fla.Stat. (1983)). Unfair prejudice results where the state makes the collateral offense a feature instead of an incident of the trial. Heiney v. State, 447 So.2d 210, 213 (Fla.), cert. denied, 469 U.S....

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7 practice notes
  • Bradley v. State, No. SC93373.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 March 2001
    ...angry wishes, which ultimately included murdering her husband for his participation in an extramarital affair. See State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752, 755 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) ("Evidence of collateral crimes may be admissible to establish the entire context out of which the alleged criminal ......
  • Richardson v. State, No. 86011
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 29 January 1998
    ...and seizure." After the trial judge excluded certain evidence, the State appealed the order to the Fifth District. State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). 18 Of relevance to this issue, the district Page 1358 court concluded that the State could appeal items 3 and 6 as they ......
  • State v. Bradford, No. 95-1019
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 June 1995
    ...The filing of a petition for certiorari is an apt remedy under these circumstances. Pettis, 520 So.2d at 253; see State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752, 754-55 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) (relying upon Pettis, granting certiorari review to afford the state a full review of an order suppressing collate......
  • State v. Hernandez, No. SC04-1331.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 September 2005
    ...with State v. Palmore, 495 So.2d 1170 (Fla.1986), State v. Kleinfeld, 587 So.2d 592 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991), and State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. Upon further Page 96 we have now determined that we should exercise our discretion and disc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Bradley v. State, No. SC93373.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 March 2001
    ...angry wishes, which ultimately included murdering her husband for his participation in an extramarital affair. See State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752, 755 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) ("Evidence of collateral crimes may be admissible to establish the entire context out of which the alleged criminal ......
  • Richardson v. State, No. 86011
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 29 January 1998
    ...and seizure." After the trial judge excluded certain evidence, the State appealed the order to the Fifth District. State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). 18 Of relevance to this issue, the district Page 1358 court concluded that the State could appeal items 3 and 6 as they ......
  • State v. Bradford, No. 95-1019
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 June 1995
    ...The filing of a petition for certiorari is an apt remedy under these circumstances. Pettis, 520 So.2d at 253; see State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752, 754-55 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) (relying upon Pettis, granting certiorari review to afford the state a full review of an order suppressing collate......
  • State v. Hernandez, No. SC04-1331.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 1 September 2005
    ...with State v. Palmore, 495 So.2d 1170 (Fla.1986), State v. Kleinfeld, 587 So.2d 592 (Fla. 4th DCA 1991), and State v. Richardson, 621 So.2d 752 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993). See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. Upon further Page 96 we have now determined that we should exercise our discretion and disc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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